Women Who Run With The Wolves Book Review

Women Who Run With the Wolves was written in 1992, by Jungian Psychologist Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and has resurfaced in popularity due to Emma Watson’s noteworthy book club, Our Shared Shelf. As part of her work with UN Women, she decided to create a book club, to share and discuss books touching on all types of equality across the world. If you’re unfamiliar with her work as an ambassador and her stance on feminism, I highly suggest watching her speech to the United Nations here. It is a true testament to not only gender, but more importantly human equality.

Now this book, oddly enough, I found to be not at all about equality in a broad sense, but more about understanding and embracing our own feminine spirit on a deeply personal level. It imparts, through intercultural myths and stories, what it is to be a “wild” women and how to reconnect with our mystical and instinctual nature. The word “wild” is not at all like its common connotations of unruly or riotous, but rather means our origin, self, or soul.

 “When women open the doors of their own lives and survey the carnage there in those out-of-the-way places, they most often find they have been allowing summary assassinations of their most crucial dreams, goals, and hopes. They find lifeless thoughts and feelings and desires; ones which were once graceful and promising but now are drained of blood.”

So what is your soul?  Not in the literal sense of the definition, but what is YOUR soul? What breathes fire into your bones and leaves you daydreaming for time on end? This magical and at times complicated world is described by Dr. Estes as having entrances or doors. “The doors to the world of the wild self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, that is a door.” As we begin to understand and become better acquainted with the meaning behind each door, we become more equipped to nurture and protect that elusive spirit within us.

This deep-seated wisdom is outlined in fifteen chapters composed of tales that lend themselves to reviving each layer of our instinctual nature:

  1.  Introduction – Singing Over the Bones
  2.  The Howl: Resurrection of the Wild Woman
  3.  Stalking the Intruder: The Beginning Initiation
  4. Nosing Out the Facts: The Retrieval of Intuition as Initiation
  5. The Mate: Union With the Other
  6. Hunting: When The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  7.  Finding One’s Pack: Belonging as Blessing
  8.  Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh
  9. Identifying Leg Traps, Cages, and Poisoned Bait
  10. Homing, Returning to One Self
  11. Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life
  12. Heat: Retrieving a Sacred Sexuality
  13. Marking Territory: The Boundaries of Rage and Forgiveness
  14. Battle Scars: Membership in the Scar Clan
  15. La Selva Subterranea: Initiation in the Underground Forrest

In finishing this remarkable book, I can now see why Emma chose something so deeply personal and spiritual as one of her selections. In our own personal journey of returning to self, we not only begin to appreciate the feminine that is us individually, but also the feminine that is each other. And as we grow stronger, more joyous and aware as individuals, we do so as a collective, returning to the beautiful and unstoppable force that we are, yielding healers and creators and breathing life, love and passion into all.

Take ten minutes today, fuel your fire within.



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  • Reply Heather

    Ah this sounds like such an amazing book! I’m going to add it to my reading list!

    August 15, 2017 at 2:04 pm
    • Reply Stephanie

      it really was! hope you do 🙂

      August 29, 2017 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply elise

    I totally need to read this book!! Sounds like something that would truly inspire me. Thanks for sharing this!

    August 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm
    • Reply Stephanie

      inspiring is the perfect way to describe it. of course!

      August 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm
  • Reply AmberLynn

    Sounds like I have another book to add to my long list of books to read. Based on your review, this falls in line with the types of books that seem most suitable for my taste in books. Wow! I will have to add this to the top of my list and I will definitely be checking out the book club.

    August 15, 2017 at 11:10 pm
    • Reply Stephanie

      haha you and me both! my list is never ending. Definitely check it out, a lot of amazing suggestions there

      August 29, 2017 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Sarah Martin

    I finally finished this last month. It took me nearly three months to get through it. I found it a bit of a slog at times and yet at other times I really embraced it and thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband thought I was reading feminist literature and I had to correct him as I don’t think it is particularly feminist. It is just trying to open our eyes (and hearts) to the possibility of re-engaging with one’s true self; the one you sometimes shy away from because you are embarrassed about your true desires/feelings/opinions. Sometimes this comes down to trying to “fit in” and sometimes because we are still trying to find out who we are. I took a lot away from it and I would recommend it to anyone (woman or man) who was wanting to find out things they never knew about their inner true feelings.

    August 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm
    • Reply Stephanie

      Yes, definitely a dense read. One where you really have to be in the right environment. I found myself rereading quite a bit to make sure I understood the underlying meaning fully. and I totally agree! This book helped me understand and appreciate parts of myself that I thought were completely bizarre.So eye opening!

      August 29, 2017 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Susannah

    This sounds like a really interesting book. Gotta add it to my “to-read” list!

    August 16, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • Reply Stephanie

      you definitely should!

      August 29, 2017 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Britt Wells

    I need to read this one! I’ve loved all of the Our Shared Shelf books!

    August 18, 2017 at 5:32 pm
    • Reply Stephanie

      you should! very good. And I feel the same way, excited to read the rest!

      August 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm
  • Reply Maria

    I definitely want to read this! I love your review and your thoughts on discovering one’s true self!

    August 23, 2017 at 3:09 am
    • Reply Stephanie

      Thank Maria! I think you’ll really enjoy it 🙂

      August 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm

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